Saur Marlina Manurung

by TUTI & LISKA from 24 Senior High School in Bandung


Women? What is the first thing that comes to your mind if we mention the word "women"? Maybe a meek person or a housekeeper, especially in eastern culture. Is it right? If we look to the world right now, maybe we can say that they already have taken steps forward. That is proven by the fact that there are so many women who are learning that they can reach for everything they want without losing their identity as women. The success of great women in the world brings equality and dignity; their work cannot be ignored at all. In fact, it is inspiring.

A map of Indonesia (in pink).
A map of Indonesia (in pink).

The ancient tradition that restricted women so they couldn’t be at the same level with men, was altered with the help of Raden Ajeng Kartini, an advocate for women's rights and women's education in Indonesia, and her book Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang (Letters of a Javanese Princess). Maybe the book was also the thing that inspired a woman named Saur Marlina Manurung. Saur Marlina Manurung who was born in Jakarta, Indonesia on 21st February 1972. Indonesia is an archipelago with many tribal people in remote places and Saur Marlina Manurung, whose nickname is "Butet," broke through barriers in the education world with her will to improve education for children living in the Jambi Forest. She volunteered to teach people of the Anak Dalam Tribe in this remote area how to read and write.

Anak Dalam tribe is only one of many tribal in Indonesia. They live in Bukit Dua Belas region, National Park in Jambi Province, about 225 km Westside Jambi. In her young age, this single woman surprisingly decided to live in deep forest where Anak Dalam exists. Her choice was also made in part because of her love of nature, but also to help the people who others call "kabu," which means stink, dirty, and stupid. But Anak Dalam themselves prefer to be called Anak Rimba. (In Indonesian these words mean "children of the forest.")

Many people asked why Butet Manurung, who is a scholar from Padjadjaran University Bandung, preferred to live with the Anak Dalam. Easily she answered that it was just a coincidence . Actually, she planned to live in the deep forest of Irian, the western half of Indonesia. This daughter of Victor Manurung and Anartiur Samosir is a huge fan of Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones. The movie inspired her to use the teaching technique of learning through playing.

Her hard work has given her a great satisfaction. After a year of teaching she was awarded by LIPI and UNESCO in 2000 as "MAN and BIOSFER" of the year. Beside that she got the 1st ANTV Women of the year in Education. Although she has made great achievements, she still hopes for more, and that someday she can be an educational consultant for other deep forest tribes. Her bravery and success force us to study harder than ever and to dig to our deepest potential talent.

We are so impressed and proud of her bravery to go into the deepest forest and change people’s view about the meaning of study. Study means learning something and to be open minded--to understand new things and Butet successfully applied this matter to the Anak Dalam tribe. Butet has messages to all the women around the world to be themselves and believe what their heart says. We as women want to say thank you for her dedication to education in the world, and to Indonesia for helping to make women more respected.

Page created on 5/9/2007 11:42:31 AM

Last edited 1/4/2017 8:45:41 PM

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Related Links

Saur Marlina Manurung - Raymond Magsaysay Foundation Award
MY HERO story - by Anatashaya from Jakarta